Biggs, J, Enhancing learning through constructive alignment, Enhancing the quality of learning: Dispositions, instruction, and learning processes, Cambridge University Press, JR Kirby and MJ Lawson (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 117-136. ISBN 978-052119942-1 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]
This chapter focuses on fostering quality learning in higher education. Teaching in universities has largely been structured as a one-way process of delivering content to students, which has encouraged learning pathologies, such as surface approaches to learning. Constructive alignment (CA) is a design for teaching that is based on the assumption that students are not at the receiving end of a transmission process but actively construct their own knowledge. Teaching is then a matter of engaging students in appropriate learning activities, not in just transmitting content. In CA, the aims of teaching are expressed as intended learning outcomes, each of which contains a verb that indicates the nature and the cognitive level of the learning activity required to achieve the intended outcome. The teaching context is designed so that the learner engages the learning verb nominated in the outcome and the assessment tasks are aligned to the intended outcome by incorporating that same verb. Teaching in a constructively aligned system thus allows one to set high-level cognitive targets, to optimise the chances of reaching them, and to monitor the quality of learned outcomes. Evaluation studies to date are encouraging. Introduction Other chapters in this book are dealing with the nature of high-quality learning and how it may be fostered in everyday or laboratory settings. My concern here is with quality learning in institutional settings, higher education in particular.